Cole Figueroa: Montgomery Biscuit?

First of all, today is the final day of the 12 Days of Christmas at The Orchard. Free gift wrapping for today only. The best part about this is that Brent Harring is working at the mall store.
He loves Christmas more than anybody I know. Example: He’ll tell anyone
who will listen about the time he was in college and, with windows down
and Santa hat on, sped around campus blaring “All I Want for Christmas is You” and singing along. Because the best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for buzzcuts to hear.

Now… Baseball stuff. The Padres (finally) completed the trade for Jason Bartlett on Friday. They sent three relievers (Adam Russell, Cesar Ramos, Brandon Gomes) and former TinCaps INF Cole Figueroa to Tampa for Bartlett and a player to be named later.

Looks fine, especially if the Padres can get Bartlett to stick around for longer than just the one year left on his contract. San Diego had a huge need for a big-league shortstop, Tampa had an equally huge need for big-league bullpen arms and both teams filled the needs.

From a Fort Wayne perspective, three of those guys played here on their way to higher levels: Ramos, Gomes and Figueroa. Figueroa looks like a second baseman as he goes up the ladder because of his lateral movement, even though he stole 26 bags last year. He might not have jaw-dropping tools, but he’s consistent and has outstanding baseball IQ, which are rarer qualities than they should be. You might even call Cole scrappy.

From a completely unimportant perspective, this also opens the possibility that Cole Figueroa becomes the first player ever to play for both the TinCaps and Montgomery Biscuits, two of the more “out-there” names in the minors. So he’s got that going for him.

The Padres also are apparently close to a deal with Orlando Hudson to play second base, which is a nice signing and leaves just first base and backup catcher as the final holes to fill on the roster. It looks like Hudson will make the money the Padres saved when they traded Adrian Gonzalez.

Random thoughts:

  • If you’re keeping score of the Padres’ off-season, that’s two more good moves for 2011. They’ve given up five relievers and Figueroa for two everyday players (Bartlett, OF Cameron Maybin) and a player to be named later. Five relievers is a lot to pay, but even the best veteran relievers are tough to predict on a year-to-year basis and San Diego still seems to have a nice core in the bullpen. They should be able to ease any new faces into the mix in low-pressure spots while Bell, Gregerson, Adams, Thatcher, Stauffer, etc. take the lead.
  • First base and backup catcher seem like the final pieces of the big-league puzzle. There’s not a lot of money to throw at those spots, though.
  • The value of relievers is low, but this low? Guillermo Mota was average out of the pen for a World Series winner and doesn’t even get a spot on the 40-man roster the next year. Wow.
  • Zack Greinke and Shaun Marcum added to the Brewers’ rotation turns a weakness into a relative strength. It puts extra pressure on the Brewers to replenish through the draft in the next few years while winning now, but with Prince Fielder ready to leave after 2011 it looks like the time to go for it.
  • How did the Royals go from “not getting enough” in offers for Greinke from the stacked Rangers organization to apparently “getting enough” from the Brewers system which is very “ehh”? The pitchers the Royals received have much higher ceilings than the position players, in my opinion.
  • Peter Gammons wrote something about the Greinke trade. Read it.
  • Hey, look! People getting upset about the Hall of Fame! Read Bill James’ book about the HOF, then realize it’s a messed-up institution and proceed to stop freaking out about it. That being said, I’ve been to Cooperstown and recommend a visit to any baseball fan.
  • The Indians signed Austin Kearns to a one-year deal. Again. This might be deja vu, but I’ll have to check with the kitchen.
  • I watched the ESPN 30 for 30 about Michael Jordan playing baseball last night. For a guy who hadn’t played baseball in forever, hitting .202 for a full season and stealing 30 bags at Double-A isn’t bad. Plus, he hit over .250 in the Arizona Fall League. AND, his manager was Terry Francona. Who knew?
  • If ESPN would do more 30 for 30 and less Decision/Favre-o-palooza, I think people would lay off them a little.
  • Also, they should let Doug Glanville do more. Good editorial about playing winter baseball.

Musical guest… Bruce Hornsby and the Range!

Take care!

DW

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